Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Norcross wide receiver Clinton Lynch (2) puts a hand in the face of Collins Hill defender Rhyan England after making a catch during the game earlier this season.
First-round matchups in the state high school football playoffs
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
• Wheeler at Grayson
• Brookwood at Lassiter
• Parkview at Walton
• Milton at South Gwinnett
• Chattahoochee at Norcross
• Johns Creek at North Gwinnett
• Mill Creek at Alpharetta
• Collins Hill at West Forsyth
• Cedar Grove at Buford
• Model at GAC
• Wesleyan at Calhoun
NORCROSS -- Opportunities come sparingly for Clinton Lynch.
A junior wide receiver, Lynch often finds himself way down the list of offensive options for undefeated Norcross. There's Alvin Kamara, a top running back prospect. Then, it's Myles Autry, another running back with talent as deep as Kamara. And fellow receiver Trey Smith garners as many looks from quarterback Joseph Wilber as Lynch.
But give Lynch his chance and he makes the most of it. Through the Blue Devils' 10 regular season games, Lynch caught just 27 passes. Compare that to the county leaders who all caught more than 50 balls and even teammate Kamara reeled in more balls, 33, than Lynch.
But no one in Class AAAAAA gives his team more productivity than Lynch. Lynch has 624 yards on those 27 catches, an average of more than 23 yards per catch, and he scored five touchdowns.
"It's not just what he's done catching the ball, it's what he's done after catching the ball -- scoring, making people miss, stiff-arming," head coach Keith Maloof said. "He's catching the short routes and turning it into a long play."
And he's only been a full-time receiver for two seasons.
Lynch played a lot of defensive back and safety growing up. He even played offensive line and tight end. He loves being physical. When he was 5, his mother signed him up for football because he spent basketball games tackling his opponents.
"She found out I was a little rough," Lynch said.
By the time he reached high school, Lynch stuck to football. He runs track, but only to work on his speed. He played a bit of special teams a season ago, but mostly saw junior varsity action and watched teammates like Jason Croom and Kamara.
"I just watch them," he said. "They lead by example."
And so does Lynch.
He stays out of trouble in school, works hard at practice, accepts his responsibility and the results have followed.
"His attitude is great every day. I don't think he has a bad day," Maloof said. "He's a complete player-person. He's that guy that everybody wants to coach."
For his part, the quiet Lynch shrugs. He likes being a playmaker and he likes winning. He understands winning means less for him.
But less focus means greater impact; another dimension to the Norcross attack.
"He's just another guy we can go to when people are eying these other guys," Maloof said. "He is a go-to guy. If they aren't eying him to start with, then he'll eat them up."
And that means grabbing every pass and seizing its opportunity.
It means 20-plus yards a catch. It means an undefeated season. It means a playoff run that begins Friday. It means Lynch is reaching all his goals this season and doing it quietly.
"I have been trying to work harder. To try to get known," Lynch said. "That was my goal: To be known, to get my name out there this year."